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Results too are affected by the area of the material that contacts are made. You will find that readings are higher with a material if the probes can penetrate the material, whereas a similar material where the probes cannot penetrate, will have lower readings. This will be despite the fact that both materials are in the same vicinity and even have identical moisture content levels. So with an electronic moisture meter one cannot, and should not, try to make comparative readings between substances. Electronic moisture meters are also extremely sensitive to free moisture and certain salts, both which can affect results significantly.

Hygroscopic Salts And Moisture Meters

One needs to be aware that any results obtained from masonary substances may not be a truely reflective measure of moisture content alone. Such hygroscopic salts as chloride and nitrate will affect moisture meters in a "positive" manner. That means that moisture content readings could be higher than the actual moisture content. Also materials could actually be electrically conductive themselves. This too will distort any readings you get.

Moisture Meter Readings

The moisture meter can provide quantative moisture content for wood, but not for masonary products. Results for masonary products should be read as percentages. Something like 15 % is of significance.

You should use a moisture meter to obtain a profile of readings. This means testing whole surfaces and areas. With a wall for example, you can start testing at the bottom and work your way up, keeping results as you progress. Then you can see an area which is affected by moisture content.

Examples Of Profile Readings

When testing a wall you get high surface readings which finish with a sudden cut off can signify rising damp.

On a wall if you have very low moisture readings at the base and then the readings increase with height indicates that you perhaps have controlled rising damp.

High readings at the base of a wall which then decrease as you go higher up the wall indicates partially controlled rising damp.

High moisture readings just above skirting boards indicate a floor problem.

Testing With The Surrounding Wood

You can also use any timber around to reflect the dampness in a masonary material. Skirting boards when tested should not really contain more than 16 % of moisture content.

If you test a skirting board and the moisture content is significantly higher then it is likely that there is a moisture issue in the masonary products behind it.

When testing a skirting board you should always test the top and bottom of it with the moisture meter. It is well known that wood does not transmit water accross the grain, so testing the middle of the skirting board will not give you true results.

The use of a moisture meter in a careful and intelligent way, along with the knowledge of its limitations, can and will give the user a very accurate idea of any moisture content problem.







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When testing for moisture content levels and dampness, the first step is to use a moisture meter. But many doubt the ability and readings of a moisture meter. But despite the negativity from certain quarters about the capabilities of electronic moisture meters, they do show results in a clean and non-destructive way.

However these electronic moisture meters do have limitations. They do not quantitatively measure moisture in masonry substrates. Such materials as brick, plaster and stone do have issues. Most electronic moisture meters record electrical resistance between 2 electrodes, some measure capacitance and the latest models use radio frequency emmissions from the meter to get results.

The problems being that moisture with other materials can affect the results. Electronic moisture meters give results of moisture content AND any other factors that are present.





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